Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on November 10, 2021 with No Comments

Lessons Learned Through Selling Popcorn and Coca-Cola

It’s enlightening to see how your experiences in your youth have shaped the skills and abilities you may use in your later life and working career. Often, these adolescent experiences give you valuable tools for your future. 

While reflecting on my early life, I discovered I had developed important skills that I never imagined would be useful to me at the time. In high school I had the opportunity to work part of the summer at a Boy Scout Camp. Since I was pretty small at the time and couldn’t do heavy work, I was given the job of camp clerk. This entailed managing a small store, signaling the beginning and end of activities by playing recorded bugle calls on a PA system, and a small amount of accounting.

This experience led me to sign up for sports’ concessions at basketball and football games in high school. “Concessions” is the name of the group that sells popcorn, candy, and Cokes at sporting events. There were usually two or three of us working at each concessions stand, and we were extremely busy during game breaks. 

The most difficult thing we had to do was to dispense drinks from a fountain. We often had lines of 20-30 people waiting for their drinks, but since took over 10 seconds to fill a cup, the line moved slowly. People always grew impatient to get their drinks and get back to the game. I came up with the idea to fill 20-40 cups before the half-time break and have them ready on the counter when the fans came to buy them. This change sped up sales, and our supervisor was impressed with my idea. 

I didn’t realize at the time that this was a lesson in creative solutions, that is, identifying a problem, analyzing it, and then solving it. This was an important lesson for me. 

There were other valuable lessons to be learned. I learned about working with other people as part of a team, dealing with “customer contact”, and working under pressure.

All these lessons were valuable life lessons that benefited me as I became an adult. To this day, my ability to do quick arithmetic, deal with people as customers, and create an atmosphere of teamwork are often useful to me. 

What skills and abilities did you develop from activities in your youth that have helped your career and adult life?

Bill Leavitt is a retired technical writer from Valparaiso and the author of a guide book to successful and active retirement entitled Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure.  The book can be purchased for $13.00 (plus Indiana sales tax) at the Visitor’s Center in Hammond (just off the Borman Expressway). For more information on how to purchase, visit 

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About Bill Leavitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit for more information.

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